Samsung HW-MS650 SoundBar Review
This appeared to be a bit of an awkward review at first. We have a pretty decent genuine surround sound system here and it does sound great. The reason is there are five individual speakers around the rooms, plus a sub. The surround is real and it is clearly coming from other parts of the room, because that’s where the speakers are for our Samsung system. But they are only there because there is miles of wires laying alongside skirting boards. Not everyone wants that, and that’s where this Samsung HW-MS650 comes in.
Setup is a doddle. Plug an optical cable between the television and HW-MS650, plus the soundbar into power and away you go. There is an optional power cable that can runs from the bar to TV, but I don’t see the point. You can also buy some more rear speakers that hook up wirelessly, but they are extra on top of the £380 or so for the HW-MS650. And here is the tough bit for me. I was not immediately impressed because I already had a great surround system. However, I have now had it plugged in for three days, watched a few films and several World Cup matches, and you know what, it’s brilliant.
Suddenly, you sort of forget what you had before, and realise the sound coming from the bar is a sensation. Sounds like we are getting all positive now, but there is still a weird catch. You DO NEED TO SWITCH ON SMART MODE from the really elementary remote to make the most of the HW-MS650 sound quality. I have no idea why this is not a default setting already.
The bass and treble adjustments could be greater, nothing wrong with the volume, and there are several sound modes; standard, music, clear voice, sports and movie. Play around with all these and you will soon learn which sounds best for you. Just remember to keep switching on smart mode for that extra punch it needs. The book says this automatically optimises sound effects to suit the scene currently playing. So, again, why not just make it on by default.
Moving on – we come to the connections. All the usual ones are here, Bluetooth and wireless through your home network. I hooked up my phone in seconds and was playing some tunes. Very nice it was too. Wireless connection means you will have access to songs on, say a NAS, should you have one, and of course, HDMI and HMDI TV-ARC. There is a warning that your equipment does need to be up to date for all this to work together properly, and by that, it seems 2014 is the earliest.
The Bluetooth connection between TV and HW-MS650 will cut down on cable routing if you have everything on the wall. The bar comes with a decent wall mount kit. There is also an AUX in for an external device and of course Samsung Multiroom is catered for, again assuming your phone is pretty new.
So, there we go. The HW-MS650 is a great piece of kit, but I wound also get those additional rear speakers for the full effect. If you don’t have the room, and don’t want to have a nest of wires running around the place, the HW-MS650 is one of the better soundbars out there. Don’t forget, that you could be eligible for Samsung’s Movie Lounge service if you buy this soundbar. The Movie Lounge service is like a lootbox for movie lovers. You get a 4k Ultra HD movie as well as a selection of gourmet popcorns from JoeSephs.